Image Courtesy of Bill Kemp
The marker is located at the site of the former town of Cardiff in northeast Livingston County, 7.3 miles southeast of Dwight, Illinois. It is northeast of the town of Campus, at the intersection of County Roads 2900 North and 3400 East.
The Herscher Area Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society
The village of Cardiff was built on this site in 1899, after the discovery of underground coal deposits. A mine was sunk and a relatively large town developed within months. The town, originally known as North Campus, incorporated as the village of Cardiff in May 1900.
A series of mine explosions from March 12 - 16, 1903, killed nine mine workers. Three men remain entombed in the mine. A second mine was sunk to the west, and mining operations resumed. More than 2,000 people lived in Cardiff at its peak. Cardiff had a church, a school, two banks, two grain elevators, a semi-pro baseball team, a bottling plant, railroad passenger service, a hotel, numerous saloons, and other businesses. Prosperity continued for Cardiff until the high quality coal ran out and the Wabash Railroad, the mine's biggest customer, refused to buy Cardiff coal. The mine closed in 1912.
A total of 18 men died in mine accidents in Cardiff.
Almost as fast as the town developed, it disappeared. Houses and other buildings were dismantled or moved whole. Today, the town of Cardiff is gone, yet remains a legally incorporated village. Two large hills of waste from the mine are monuments to the people who lived, worked, and died here. Dozens of acres that had been homes, stores, yards, and streets have now gone back to farmland.
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